Gil Roberts

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Olympian failed drug test due to ‘frequent, passionate’ kissing

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Gil Roberts, a U.S. Olympic 400m runner, successfully argued that kissing his girlfriend led to him unknowingly ingesting a banned substance and failing a March drug test.

Roberts, a Rio 4x400m relay gold medalist, was provisionally suspended in May after both his A and B samples from a March 24 test came back positive. He had a small amount of the well-known banned masking agent probenecid in his system.

On June 20, an arbitrator cleared Roberts of wrongdoing, allowing him to compete at the USATF Outdoor Championships two days later. Roberts finished second in the 400m in a personal-best time, qualifying for the world championships in London in August.

Roberts, who has never before tested positive, argued that he ingested probenecid through “frequently and passionately” kissing his girlfriend in the day(s) leading up to his March 24 test, according to an arbitration decision.

On March 14, Roberts’ girlfriend received a sinus infection medication labeled Moxylong in semi-rural India.

She continued to take the medicine after arriving in the U.S., including on March 24, about three hours before Roberts’ out-of-competition drug test.

The arbiter decision document stated that Roberts and his girlfriend kissed between the time she took the medication and when Roberts provided a urine sample, including when Roberts told his girlfriend that he was leaving the room to be tested.

“Roberts could not count the number of times they kissed between 1 p.m. and the doping control officer’s arrival [at 4:07],” the decision read. “He had no idea that kissing his girlfriend could lead to his ingesting a prohibited substance. When he kissed her he did not remember the taste of medicine in her mouth.”

Roberts’ girlfriend later googled Moxylong and found that it contained probenecid.

An arbitrator accepted Roberts’ story.

He was not banned, in part to consideration of previous, similar cases of tennis player Richard Gasquet and pole vaulter Shawn Barber failing drug tests for cocaine after kissing women who had used the drug.

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MORE: Olympic 400m champ to miss worlds

Dawn Harper-Nelson wins 100m hurdles at U.S. Championships; Saturday recap

Dawn Harper-Nelson
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Dawn Harper-Nelson beat the World champion in the 100m hurdles to win the U.S. Championship and celebrated with a cartwheel.

Harper-Nelson, the 2008 Olympic champion, clocked 12.55 seconds in the final in Sacramento, Calif. Queen Harrison was second in 12.56, followed by Lolo Jones in 12.65. World champion Brianna Rollins, who also owns the fastest time in the world this year, was fifth in 12.81.

“I made a little mistake in the middle [of the race], and I was like, ‘Oh, Lord, don’t let it go,'” Harper-Nelson told Lewis Johnson on NBC. “I knew it was going to be a great race. Fierce ladies.”

In the women’s 400m final, Olympic champion Sanya Richards-Ross couldn’t run down Francena McCorory. McCorory, the World Indoor champion, ran a personal best 49.48 seconds. That’s the fastest 400m by an American woman since Richards-Ross won the 2012 Olympic Trials in 49.28.

“I just wanted to get out, execute my race and finish strong,” said McCorory, gasping for breaths. “I’m just happy for the win.”

Richards-Ross went her fastest time of 2014 by .37 of a second, one day after chopping 1.16 seconds off her best time this year. She’s coming back from toe injuries that sidelined her most of the last season.

“What keeps me going now is my legacy,” said Richards-Ross, 29, a five-time Olympic medalist. “I do want to be a two-time [individual] Olympic champion, so I’m working hard to get back to Rio.”

The U.S. Championships finish Sunday with finals including the 200m, men’s 110m hurdles and women’s 1500m.

[WATCH LIVEU.S. Championships, Sunday at 3 p.m. ET]

In other events Saturday, Brittney Reese won the long jump with a 6.92m leap. Reese has won every global outdoor championship since placing fifth at the 2008 Olympics. Tianna Bartoletta, who won the 100m on Friday night, was second with five jumps of 6.8m or better. Nobody else did so more than once.

Olympic silver medalist Erik Kynard won the high jump with a clearance of 2.35m. Kynard took three attempts at 2.41m, which would have been a American record, but failed on all three.

Olympic silver medalist Leo Manzano passed Pat Casey in the final 100m of the 1500m to win by .31 in 3:38.63.

Two-time Olympian Sharon Day-Monroe successfully defended her heptathlon title with 6,470 points. Day-Monroe finished sixth at the 2013 World Championships with 6,407.

Emma Coburn took the 3000m steeplechase in 9:19.71, a meet record. She became the first American to win a Diamond League steeplechase in Shanghai on May 18.

Gil Roberts won a 400m final lacking the reigning World Championships gold and silver medalists, LaShawn Merritt and Tony McQuay. Merritt withdrew before the semifinals Friday. Roberts ran a personal best 44.53.

World Championships medalists Curtis Mitchell and Wallace Spearmon won their 200m first round heats. The last two World champions, David Oliver and Jason Richardson, advanced in the 110m hurdles. The semifinals and finals of both sprints are Sunday.

Olympic silver medalist Lashinda Demus and Olympians Tiffany Williams and Georganne Moline were among the qualifiers into the 400m hurdles final Sunday.

Beijing Olympic bronze medalist Bershawn JacksonJohnny Dutch and Jeshua Anderson made the men’s 400m hurdles final. London Olympic silver medalist Michael Tinsley was shockingly eliminated in the first round Friday.

Oscar Pistorius trial set to resume Monday